Peck Cemetery, Killen Alabama
A feisty, strong-willed woman who doted on her family and took care of everyone in her life, Sandra Gruhlke passed away on December 27, 2021.
Later in life, Sandra became “Nana” to all she encountered; her loving heart encouraged her to adopt all manner of wayward people. She adored her own grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and was the first to extend that love and care to the children of friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
Her famous sense of humor led her to laugh often with those she loved.
Sandra’s smoothies were a famous cure for anything that ails you. She also loved baking gingerbread and every Christmas she made an array of beautifully decorated houses for everyone in the family. Visiting the pumpkin patch and dying Easter eggs were also cherished family traditions.
An avid gardener, she spent countless hours tending to her roses and morning glories, usually dressed in a full bee suit; anything to avoid bugs! Her pet peeve was when tulips popped up uninvited.
She also loved to knit, creating gorgeous blankets, scarves and sweaters for those she loved. Traveling was another passion, including visiting family and friends in Alabama. She had a soft spot in her heart for Germany.
She enjoyed boat rides on Lake Geneva and Tall Sailing Ships on Lake Michigan. Smart and creative, she was also a talented writer with dreams of becoming a journalist.
Sandra was predeceased by her mother, Mattie Ann Stepanek; her father, Ralph Shipley and her brother-in-law Alan Wawrzyniak.
Sandra is survived by her husband, Rich (aka Pa) and his loving family; her children Emma (Scott) Drabek, Amanda (fiancée Tony) Thomas and Steve (Jen); grandchildren Caitlyn (JT), Brittany, Kristen, Becca and Lia; great-grandchildren Haley, Aaliyah and Aurora; siblings Phyllis (who passed away the day after Sandra) (Mike) McGlathery and Sheila (Alan) Wawrzyniak; nieces and nephews Frank (Lindsey) Wawrzyniak, Becca (Brendan) McNab, Suzanne (Dan) Spenny, John (Tosha) and Daniel; great nieces and nephews Easton, Colston, Sienna, Jack, Madison, Tevin and Bentley; and extended family in Alabama.
Sandra’s kindness, charisma and care for all people will be forever missed by those who knew and loved her.
Elkins Funeral Home, Killen, Alabama a viewing will be held from 12 to 2 pm, on Wednesday January 12,2022. Interment directly to follow at Peck Cemetery.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Justen Funeral Home & Crematory. For more information, please contact the Funeral Home at 815.385.2400 or visit www.justenfh.com, where friends and loved ones may share memories of Sandra on her tribute wall.